GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While the Grand Rapids Catholic Central hockey team is led by a group of seven seniors, the Cougars are extremely young.
Mike Slobodnik's roster features three freshmen and six sophomores and many play key roles on the team.
At the beginning of the season, the players and coaches admit they didn't know what to expect with all of their youth.
However, on Saturday night in the Division 1 regional championship game against Forest Hills Central, the Cougars came away with a 4-2 win to claim another title.
"Did we expect to be here? No," said junior captain, Andrew Wermuth who scored in the third period to extend the lead, "we strive to be here every year, always work our butts off and this is where it got us."
It gives the Cougars back-to-back regional titles and five in the past six seasons.
Just weeks after a COVID-19 shutdown of their program, they're thankful for the opportunity.
"We've learned not to take anything for granted," said head coach Mike Slobodnik, "but it has been tough because we haven't practiced. In a normal year, we practice four days a week but I think we've had five or six practices in the last four weeks, because of the shutdown and everything, plus playing so many games."
Despite that, he says his team was focused and ready for postseason play.
"It's a testament to our guys for their ability to stick to it," Slobodnik added.
The Cougars advance to face Flint Powers on Wednesday at Michigan State University in that state quarterfinal.